Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Health Insurance Ridiculousness, Part II

On Monday I had my barium upper GI series.  The first words the radiologist said to me?  "Don't worry.  This is a great test.  In 1972."  He went on to say that they had much better tests, that did not involve any radiation at all, over in the MRI wing of the diagnostic center, but that no insurance will pay for them -- and no ordinary person can afford them without insurance.

So we went ahead and did the barium milkshakes.

He did find a problem.  Next to where one of my previous abdominal surgeries was performed, at the area where the two pieces of small intestine were rejoined after the diseased section was removed (hereafter referred to as the "anastomosis") he found a large balloon-like swelling with a narrow opening (hereafter referred to as the "diverticulum.")  Diverticuli are formed when the inflamed intestine won't allow food to pass through...but the muscular action of the intestine keeps trying anyway (hereafter referred to as "peristaltic action.")  The pressure causes the walls of the tunnel to balloon out much like Dizzy Gillespie's cheeks when he played trumpet.  (YouTube him, kids.)  The radiologist is of the opinion that the diverticulum is a prime spot for the pill camera to get stuck.

This, as the Ghostbusters would say, would be bad.  Crossing the streams bad.

The only way to remove the stuck pill camera is via surgery, and because of the nature of the surgery, it cannot be performed laparoscopically, i.e., with a small incision.  It's another big old honkin' belly operation.

I have informed my gastroenterologist that I am having serious second thoughts about the pill camera, and I am waiting to hear back from him.  It's still scheduled for next Tuesday, but I don't think I will be showing up for it unless he has some dramatic new perspectives with which to change my mind.

I don't want to be cut open again.  Ever.

On an interesting side note, the radiologist -- who was great, by the way; funny and knowledgeable and a big Game of Thrones fan -- had some ideas about what might be causing my blood iron to fall.  He thinks I need a liver study.  He thinks that my liver has actually been overloaded with iron because it has started acting like a sponge for all the iron they've been pouring into me and now my liver has become conditioned to grab up ALL the iron it can.  He thinks I need chelation to get the extra iron out of my liver, which will not be a picnic, by any means.  The drugs for chelation -- removing heavy metals from your system -- work great, but have horrific side effects, especially in the nausea/vomiting department.

Still gotta be better than being filleted like a trout, though.

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